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shady stats article

 Hi list. Wonder if anyone might give some help on the claims made in the
end of this bit   
re: stats.
Shady Statistics: --- Has Iraq Hoodwinked Humanitarians?
Asian Wall Street Journal; New York, N.Y.; Nov 7, 2001; By Keith Marsden;

The head of the Church of England is now "agonizing" about the U.N.-mandated 
sanctions on Iraq. Writing in the Times of London Oct. 16, Archbishop George 
Carey claimed, "We have had 11 years of sanctions and there is no doubt that 
they bite. Unfortunately, they have bitten the wrong people. Those who have 
suffered most are ordinary Iraqis, especially the children." Meanwhile, a 
Swiss Quaker is even blunter. In a letter published by the Tribune de 
Geneve, he asserts: "The number of dead and missing in New York corresponds 
to the number of persons who die every fortnight in Iraq as a result of U.S. 
policies toward that country." Needless to say, Muslim clerics have 
expressed similar views.

One can only marvel at the moral certitude that allows religious leaders to 
reverse the roles of victims and victimizers. The Iraq regime, after all, 
can only claim victim status for those with a very relativistic view of the 

Here is a by no means exhaustive list: Iraq brutally attacked two of its 
neighbors -- Iran and Kuwait. It gassed its own Kurdish citizens. U.N. 
inspectors discovered that Baghdad had "weaponized" anthrax and other germ 
agents into Scud missiles and bombs. And former chief U.N. arms inspector 
Richard Butler suspects it may have supplied the materials and/or know-how 
behind the second wave of terror now hitting the U.S.

It is imperative therefore that the truth about the impact of sanctions on 
Iraq be established before Allied antiterrorist action is blocked on 
supposed humanitarian grounds. A good place to start when debunking the 
pro-Iraq nostrums is the source of the information that has aroused the 
concern of religious leaders and other critics of U.S. policies. It is none 
other than the Iraqi state propaganda machine.

Iraq -- like Cuba, North Korea, Burma and Libya -- refuses to report basic 
economic data to the United Nations (a requirement of membership). The World 
Bank Atlas 2001 provides per capita income estimates and rankings for 207 
countries and territories. But these five dictatorships are conspicuously 
absent. No information is published on Iraq's GDP growth rate, economic 
structure, investment, inflation rates, government expenditure, private 
consumption, current account balances or external debt. And Baghdad is no 
more forthcoming about social trends. The U.N. Human Development Report 2001 
gives many social indicators for 162 countries, but none for Iraq. 
Considering Iraq's secrecy and lack of democratic accountability, little 
confidence can be placed in the data that the regime chooses to report to 
the U.N.

Saddam Hussein has adopted a two-pronged strategy toward sanctions. The 
first is to deny the continued existence of nuclear, chemical or biological 
weapons, or of further development work in these areas. The second is to 
claim that ordinary Iraqis have suffered greatly, thus hoping to gain 
international support for lifting the sanctions. Yet the World Health 
Organization has given its seal of approval to the data fed to it by Iraq. A 
1996 WHO report titled "The Health Conditions of the Population in Iraq 
Since the Gulf Crisis" (note, not war) painted such a dismal picture that 
the U.N. Security Council passed an Oil for Food and Medicines Resolution, 
even though these last two items had never been subject to sanctions. 
Notwithstanding the subsequent relaxation of controls over oil exports, a 
second WHO report submitted to an EU committee earlier this year said there 
had been little improvement in the health situation.

A review of these WHO reports is revealing. The authors suspend all critical 
judgement and objectivity. They accept, reproduce and even embellish Iraqi 
government data, without any possibility of undertaking independent 
verification on a national scale. Yet data provided by other organs of the 
Iraqi government (whatever their motives) contradict their arguments. Before 
the international community takes further action on sanctions, the following 
discrepancies should be noted:

-- Infant mortality rate. The 1996 WHO report said that compared with 
pre-war levels, the infant mortality rate had doubled. Its 2001 report cites 
a current IMR figure of 108 per 1000 live births. However, the latest World 
Bank estimates, also derived from Iraqi sources, show a slight fall in the 
IMR to 101 in 1999 from 102 in 1990. These figures are high, but are they 
believable in the light of other facts?

-- Crude death rate. The WHO claims that there has been a widespread 
deterioration in health facilities and nutrition levels, having negative 
effects on most age and social groups in Iraq. Yet according to the World 
Bank, Iraq's crude death rate has dropped to 10 per 1,000 population in 
1999, from 18 in 1965. It is now estimated to be the same as South Korea's, 
one of the world's most rapidly growing economies. The World Bank also says 
that Iraq has substantially more physicians and hospital beds per 1,000 
people than Syria and Morocco, two countries of similar population size and 
income levels.

-- Food supplies and nutrition. The WHO asserts: "The vast majority of the 
country's population has been on a semi-starvation diet for years." Perhaps, 
but how does WHO know? Iraq keeps its food consumption levels secret. WHO 
refers only to government food rations. Other studies have observed a rapid 
growth in food sales through private distribution channels. The FAO reports 
a doubling of both the cropped area and the proportion under irrigation (to 
64%). Fertilizer usage quadrupled.

-- Access to essential drugs. The WHO claims that: "Owing to the lack of 
financial resources from foreign-exchange earnings, the import of food and 
medicines has been restricted," and has left "Iraqi families and hospitals 
with no money to buy them." The World Bank reports an 85% rate for access to 
drugs in Iraq in 1997. This rate is defined as "the percentage of the 
population for which a minimum of 20 of the most essential drugs are 
continuously available and affordable at public or private health facilities 
or drug outlets within one kilometer of the dwelling." The Iraqi rate is 
above those for Syria (80%) and Malaysia (70%).

-- Electrical power, water and sanitation. The WHO attributes deficiencies 
in surgical care and the "explosive rise in the incidence of enteric 
infections" to the wartime destruction of electrical generating, water and 
sewage treatment plant. Yet the International Energy Agency reports that 
Iraq's electricity production increased nearly fourfold from 1980 to 1998, 
and its per capita electricity supply is now well above Syria's and 
Morocco's. The World Bank says that 85% of Iraqis had access to improved 
(formerly called "safe") water sources in 2000, compared with 80% of Syrians 
and 82% of Moroccans.

-- Transport. WHO says that an "acute shortage" of transport vehicles has 
affected emergency ambulance services and spraying operations to combat 
mosquitoes and malaria. Once again, other sources provide contradictory 
data. The International Road Federation records that the number of motor 
vehicles per 1,000 people increased by 3.6 fold in Iraq from 1990 to 1999, 
reaching 51 compared with Syria's 30 and Morocco's 52. The number of 
passenger cars soared to 36 per 1000 in 1999 from 1 in 1990. Iraq's fuel 
prices at the pump ($0.01 per litre of diesel and $0.03 for super) were the 
lowest in the world in 2000. This is hardly evidence of a stagnant economy 
strapped for cash.

This evidence should at least raise serious doubts about the case for 
lifting sanctions on Iraq on humanitarian grounds. Before doing so, the 
international community should insist that Iraq open the window on its 
economy, institutions and military activities much wider. Only in this way 
can Iraq's own people, its friends and other countries really judge whether 
its present leaders deserve to be treated in the same way as democratic, 
peace-loving nations.

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